Learning to Fly (Mush)

Now I can only speak of huskies, I have never owned a Mal but I don’t think they are that much different other than size and a few personality traits. So, temper anything I tell you with your own knowledge of your dogs.

For thousands of years the northern breeds had one job. And that was to pull things, and for that they were fed and protected like any member of the family. The family of humans and dogs made up the pack. Each relied on the other to live in the harsh lands of ice and snow.

This is the essence of these dogs. Thousands of years of DNA drives them in ways you may not have considered. This is what a northern breed does better than any other dog on the planet. They survive and they work just like all of their ancestors did for thousands of years.

They need you, and you need them. A partnership that was formed many years ago. To really understand them you need to understand where they came from. How they survived and the ties they have to man. They have needs that are very basic, and for that they will lay down their lives for you if called upon. They will run until dead if you are a bad leader and ask it of them. That is a husky and probably a Mal as well.

They were bred to think, not go quietly into the night by a Musher with no clue. This saved many lives as the dog knew better than to follow a command that would kill the pack. And that is why a husky will look at you and think about what you ask of him. Then he will make his own decision of what is best and do it regardless of your commands and cussing.

There is nothing simple about these dogs. They think and they have their own way about almost everything. They are not slaves and will let you know it if you are a bad leader. You have to meet them half way. You have to be an active member of the team, and a partner, not a God who delivers ultimatums.

Keep this in mind as you make your journey with them. You want to mush dogs? Then you need to understand them as much as you can.

The first thing is to teach them some commands. This might seem as simple as using a turn signal but this is where it all begins. It’s not really all that hard as they are very intelligent and learn quickly.

Start with this: Gee means turn right. Haw means turn left. On-by, means straight ahead, Leave it, means you don’t want them to eat the dead squirrelly on the road, and “Whoa!” should be self-explanatory.

You teach by walking because speed will kill you. You walk and you give a command like, “Gee!” then you turn 90 degrees and you cross the road or turn a corner. A forceful command, not a wish. Command voice is command.

Then you practice “Haw!” the same way and mean it. They will follow and soon they will be doing it on command.

This is what you do before you ever hook them up to wheels. You walk and you work until you are confident that they will do it out of repetition. To not do so will end in disaster, at dog speed you don’t have time to argue the point. Things happen fast and you better have control.

My little video is very basic, but you will get the idea from it. You follow your own trail and modify it to fit your own dog(s) and then we will get to wheels.

I hope this helps you on your journey. The trail is full of dangerous things for you and your dog. But by training you will get better and better…you will become a team that trust each other. You will reach the point that makes you one, as you overcome obstacles. You will become as one, and that is when the magic happens.

TJ

The End of the Siberian Husky

I pen this post with a heavy heart. I see the future for my beloved huskies and it is not one that I would choose for them.

If a husky has any faults that will do him in, it is beauty. When God made this dog in all his glory he could not have done any better. The husky is a magnificently beautiful dog, but that is only skin deep. So many people buy them based on this. As beautiful as they may be, that is not even close to what they really are.

What lies beneath that exterior is one amazing animal. A free independent dog that thinks and probably was not designed for apartment life. For thousands of years they lived in lands that would kill most humans. They not only lived but thrived because they were bred for this very purpose. A purpose that most people don’t like or even understand.

They are constantly being bred to meet the demand. But not being sold to people who will give them what they need. They need to run and pull things. That is what they do and it pains me that nobody seems to care. People complain about how they destroy things and dig, and pace around.

It’s because they are not being allowed to be who they are. They are being forced into a world that they don’t want or understand. Sitting on a couch and looking pretty is not a husky. Yes, they can do that but only if what is inside of them is satisfied. The need to run, the need to explore, the need to be free.

It seems like human nature is to destroy things. To force our will and desires on to others no matter the cost. We have an idea of what is perfect in our world, and we find a way to force that on those less strong.

Sadly, that is the fate of the husky. He is to be looked upon and not heard. No matter how loud his heart speaks… it will be ignored, for he is only a beast we control. And if he can’t be controlled we will cast him aside and let someone else deal with his pain.

Now you may speak of all the inequalities in this world of ours. Black lives matter, right wing, left wing, gays, and transgendered. But who speaks for those who cannot?

We do, or we should. That is what God would do…he would speak for those who cannot. He would stand up for those forgotten, and those who slowly slip to the edge of the abyss. He created the husky for a purpose, and to deny that is truly a crime.

You cannot change a person or dog into something they are not. You should rejoice in what they are for it is unique and special. They have no voice, they have no vote, but you do.

Do not let this soul slip from us and become something less from what he was designed to be. Let him be what he was meant to be. Let him run, whether it be on a skateboard, bike, or anything else you can figure out.

Huskies need to run…just like they have for thousands of years. It is what they are, and to deny that is wrong. That is their job and what they do best. They are not ornaments, or conversation pieces for dinner with your boss.

They are Huskies!

Find a place for them in your world. Meet them half-way because they need you to help them fit into this world. And they have to be what God intended them to be.

If not, they will soon be gone, just a shell of what they were.

Tj

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Siberian Husky

This is what they do better than any dog on the planet. I give you the Siberian Husky.

The Faithful & Forgiving

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One of my long time friends wrote a post about his faith, and how most of us don’t call on it until its needed. We go through our lives for the most part, not thinking about it until a crisis. Hey, I’m guilty of the same thing. But it made me stop and think about it.

I’m not a church going guy. I guess all the scandals of TV evangelicals ripping off old people sort of made me not trust them much. Back when I was young and did go to church. And if the stories were true, many of the people there had a lot to be forgiven for. They only problem is they kept on making new stories… instead of changing their ways.

Now that’s not to say I don’t believe in a higher power. I believe in God very much, but like I said I’m not much for church. I don’t think God cares much if you go to church every Sunday, as much as he wants us to be decent human beings.

As in all things these days that I think about, I relate them to my dogs. Not just any dogs but Huskies. They teach things just by being alive. All you have to do is look and you might find an answer to what is bothering you.

Huskies are not normal in dog terms, they are unique. I feel so connected with them, that I sometimes wonder how I made it through most of my life without them.

Naturally I took my friends words that he had written, and looked to my huskies for guidance. I began to wonder if huskies have Gods, or a supreme husky that guides them when they are troubled. I looked at them in the eyes…and they looked back at me with those blue eyes that seem to know everything.

Not a word was spoken by them, but it suddenly dawned on me.

Huskies and all dogs for that matter have undeniable faith in us. They have faith that they will be fed. Just like a farmer has faith in God that it will rain on his crops, so he will be able to feed his family.

Dogs have faith in us to save them when they are afraid. Just like we have faith in law enforcement to save us if we need it. Even if they are abused, miss-treated, starved, or anything else we do. That faith may be questioned by them but the spark remains alive. If it didn’t, there would be no hope for dog rescues. It would be impossible to save them without them having faith that the next owner would be better to them.

Do I have faith in them the same way? No, not really because I’m a human. I wasn’t gifted with the same amount of faith they have. If I let them out of my fence they will run like miss guided children. But I think they have faith I will come and find them.

Now it’s hard to trust people for the most part. I’ve had that problem once I was burned a few times. But I’ve learned, that sometimes if you have some faith you will be rewarded for it. I don’t mean go to church and pray for the winning lottery numbers. I mean put some faith in others, and see what comes back.

Sometime you have to take the risk. Dogs don’t have this choice but we do.

Because of my connection with my furry friends I’ve learned a little about how faith works. You believe that who you give your trust to, will not disappoint that trust you put in them. Sometimes people just need that vote of confidence from us. Instead of ripping us off, they take a major step up in the world. All because someone had some faith in them. Just like my huskies have faith in me.

I’ve put some trust in perfect strangers I’ve never even met. I’ve trusted them with money, and something even more important to me…some huskies.

Without faith, there really isn’t much to hope for. You will spend all your time guarding everything and worrying yourself to death.

I’ve taken a lesson from my huskies on this and so far, I have not been disappointed. You see sometimes people will surprise you…you just need a little faith. Sure its a risk, a every owner is a risk to a dog.

But dogs have faith, and forgiving souls.

And that is a lesson we all can learn from.

TJ

 

Ring Tailed Varmit

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It seems some of you like these, so here is one from my archives.

October 25, 2016

We had an incident around 1:30 AM this morning. I awoke to this God-awful sound and thought my Huskies had gotten into some kind of life or death fight over a chewy or something.

You know how you can usually tell what kind of commotion is going on by the voices you hear. This one had the Siberians throwing a fit in voices I’ve never heard before or since. I imagined it was somewhere between the sound of a cat being slowly ran over by a steam roller tail first, to several dogs being scalded with boiling oil.

I ran outside in the 40 degrees temp barefoot, in shorts, and a T-shirt with my flashlight in hand. The dogs are going absolutely nuts in the back corner of the fence. I look and cannot figure out what the heck is going on but they won’t stop.

In the corner, I see nothing and all three are screaming and whiling in circles that would make the Tasmanian Devil proud. It’s pitch black and I keep asking them “WTF is wrong with you guys?” Of course, they don’t answer and I look out with my flashlight to see if Deer are near the fence.

Finding nothing, I happen to scan up the fence with my light. At the very top which is about 8 feet off the ground and hanging on for dear life is a huge raccoon! He is an estimated 20 pounder, gnashing his white teeth, and hissing loudly. He does not look happy at all about his current situation.

He is hanging on the inside corner of the wire, and I wonder what to do about it. Keep in mind I just woke up and my bare feet are feeling the cold. In the meantime, the dogs will not stop their insanity. They are in full kill mode, and wanting that fat fellow to fall right down in the middle of their pack.

I’ve had experience with these ring-tailed varmints before and they can certainly hold their own especially when cornered. It is not a critter you want to get in contact with.

I see one of those aluminum poles for your swimming pool laying nearby so I grabbed it and gave him a poke to get him jump off the fence and escape. The whole time hoping he would jump off in the woods and not into the pack.

He hissed at me, as I prodded him several times amid the din of the dogs. Finally, he jumped off on the outside and landed with a large thump. 8 feet and a belly flop but it didn’t seem to bother him at all… into the woods he ran like a bear at full speed.

Denied of their prize the huskies want to tear down the fence and run him to ground. To a husky anything smaller than them qualifies as “Prey.” And I helped free their tempting prize of fur and fat.

All the rest of the night the dogs raced around at Zoomie speed. Back and forth and all around the property looking, and hoping for another raccoon encounter. The only good thing to come out of this was that the next day they were dog tired and zonked out. Not to mention unharmed by that ring-tailed burglar.

At least no animals or people got injured during this nocturnal adventure, and a word to the wise about these critters.

No joke, a raccoon can cause some serious damage to your dog or you. I have the scars to prove it from a pet raccoon when I was a kid. Watch out for vermin especially if you have a puppy. This was a big one but I think 3 Huskies would have dispatched him.

Even so, somebody would have taken some damage… and who needs another vet bill. And that’s not even counting the possibility of rabies.

Watch out for your dogs, there are lots of bad things out there in the dark.

Just another day at my Husky Haven.

TJ

 

The Mind of the Husky

Have you ever stopped and looked at that Husky sleeping on your couch and wondered what lies beneath that beautiful body? Or what goes on inside their head?

I’ll tell you what lies beneath that perfect looking exterior. Thousands of years of DNA that made these dogs unique. Survivors, and a free spirit that will not be denied. They have no fear, and they have confidence in themselves, and maybe even you… if you earn it.

I put myself into their world and try to keep up both physically and mentally. Huskies never cease to amaze me with what they can do. They fear nothing…but they need someone to lead and encourage them. If you open a can of pure Husky you will find an amazing animal!

Release the hounds and hold on to your shorts! The husky is everything you’ve never thought of, and more. We rode the dark trail last night and it was an eye opening experience for me.

Partnership and trust, that’s what it is all about. You will never know the ability of a husky or experience what they can do… until you put yourself out there on the line with them.

I understand that this is not for everyone. It may only be for us few that are husky crazy. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I love my dogs and they love me…we are a team! And there is nothing that compares to the feeling of accomplishing something together.

Yes, I’m out there on the edge sometimes in this urban environment. We take some risks, but I take it with them. You see…my huskies are with me, and I’m with them. We feed on each other’s confidence, and blaze any trail we want to take.

That’s what we do, like so many before us have done. Huskies and mankind, whether its snow or asphalt we won’t be kept locked up. For that is truly a prison around the soul… to a husky and some of us other free spirits.

TJ

 

For the Love of a Dog

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Whenever I get a thought or two… I sit down and write. I hope that you find something you can learn or apply to your own husky.

Today’s post is about staying engaged. You see staying engaged with your husky is one of the hardest things to maintain. The longer you are together the easier it is to get lazy and begin to slack in your side of the partnership.

Hey it’s easy to do…life happens for us, and sometimes we get tired, or stressed, or any number of things that can take us away from the time we dedicated to our huskies. We do it to our own spouse and children, and we do it to our dogs as well. In fact, dogs are the first ones to be cast aside when life happens for humans.

Huskies, like all dogs live short lives compared to us. They have high energy requirements that need to be met regardless of how tired we are. I’ve walked my dogs in the freezing rain, and when my back hurt, and a lot of other times when I didn’t want to. Luckily my wife helps out, and that makes it easier for both of us when you have multiple huskies.

I tell myself I signed up for this, and I’m not going to let my partners (3 Huskies) down. Sometimes that is very hard to do, because I hurt or the weather sucks or whatever. The husky doesn’t understand any of those things in our world. They give us everything they have, and want the same commitment in return.

That’s why I always call it a partnership.

I don’t think anyone actually owns a husky, except maybe in legal terms. You are partners, and both of you have to do the best you can even when times get tough.

Working together to get through a tough time can strengthen the bond between you. It’s how you learn to understand this amazing dog. You do it by being engaged, and look at them with an open mind. You take mental notes of how they act for every situation.

So, I get out in the rain, and the snow, and the freezing cold when I have to. I spend the money for vet care, I think of my dogs first before me. For without me, they cannot even open a can of food.

They are my partners in life, and they won’t be here forever. I want to be the best partner I can while they are with me. I want to know everything I can about them. The Siberian people are a fascinating race that deserves to be understood the best ways we know how.

I want to make up for all the bad owners in the world, the abusers, the losers that give us a bad name to dogs. I wouldn’t anymore leave my dogs in a flood than I would my kids (See Texas.)

Stay engaged, enjoy the good and bad days…your husky partner will help you in their own way.

I don’t think there is any other dog on earth quite like a husky. Huskies are truly special in so many ways, you just have to experience it. If you don’t… that potential in your partner will never come to the surface.

You will have missed an opportunity to truly understand that they are so much more than, “Just a Dog.”

TJ

Broken Harness (Annals of Queen Nikki)

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When you have a husky or three like I do… every day is an adventure. Just when you think you have it all figured out, Murphy and his law show up to remind you how little you know about how the universe works.

This morning I got up a bit later than normal because I was teleworking. 06:00 instead of 04:30. This gave me plenty of time to take Cooper and Stinky on a walk. All was going well, getting them into their harness, and soon we headed out. I was be-bopping along enjoying the cooler air. I had no idea that all hell was about to break loose.

Not having gone far, Stinky got her lead tangled and decided to pull like a tractor. Her old worn out easy-walk harness broke, and became tangled around her rear legs.

I tried to grab her, and wrap the leash around her neck. The Queen was not having any of this non-sense from a servant and went full born bucking bronco and busted loose. While I was wrestling with the Queen, Cooper yanked the leash out of my hand and went trotting up the block free as a bird.

Suddenly I was on my knees with no dogs and one broken harness and leash! The Gods were definitely not smiling down on me that morning. I suppose I committed some infraction in the eyes of the Devine husky God, and in so doing was to be punished appropriately.

Keep in mind this all happened at the worst possible location. Which was in front of a neighbor who owns two Mastiffs, and believes they should not be fenced or tied…because they are special.

Okay back to the story. So, I’m standing there with this leash and broken harness. I yell at Cooper to come back, and to my surprise he comes trotting back down the block to me. That gives me a small sense of hope that I can recover my dogs.

Nikki (Or Stinky I call her) came running up at Zoomie speed. She was happy as a clam to jump on Cooper’s face with both paws and say, “I’m Free…I’m free!” I made a desperate lunge to snatch her majesty and she bolted.

Actually, this is a very dangerous situation I’m in. Nikki is 11 months old and running free. Not the least bit afraid of cars, dogs, people, or much else.

She runs right up to the back yard of the mastiffs, and I’m expecting to hear a dog being killed as I call her. Cooper is being good and has the wisdom to realize that I’m not happy at what’s going on.

Chasing a loose husky is a fool’s game unless you suddenly have four legs and world-class sprinter muscles. I can’t catch Nikki so I start walking back the way I came…calling her. I had to be an actor and play like she was being left behind.

The black and white tornado comes flying after us but not close enough for me to loop her with a leash. I have no choice but to continue on, and call her to follow. This she does… but not without going to every back yard, the woods, and everywhere else to investigate her freedom.

At this point, the whole neighborhood full of dogs that are in an uproar caused by Stinky invading their sacred lands. Incensed that a black and white Queen runs free on their property, and they cannot repel the brazen invader.

I’m sweating like a pig, and hoping she doesn’t get killed, or decide to run off through the woods never to be seen again! Sweat trickles down the sides of my neck from nerves not heat. Now in most cases like this I would have got on my cell phone and called the wife to come help.

Guess what? That’s right, this was the morning I had to forget it on the kitchen counter! Murphy was giving me a long lesson in how his laws can multiple into a disaster! Something I’ve never forgotten again is my phone.

I have no choice but to continue on calling her as me and Cooper head for home. Nikki disappears behind a house and I hear another dog barking.  From 30 yards, away, I try and convince her to leave that dog in the fence but she isn’t listening to me. Just then the neighbor opens her door to let her dog out for a morning squirt. No leash of course because her dog is special as well.

Nikki goes to meet this new dog and scares the crap out of it. I hear sounds like a dog being killed. I can’t see because of the bushes. When I can see the woman in her pajama’s looking shocked at me and the mad Queen I notice that it’s a little dog who came out to pee and found a Husky instead!

I’m running down to her front porch with Cooper in tow and yelling, hoping that Nikki is not trying to kill this dog, or vice versa.

Fortunately, when I get to the woman in the robe at the front door, no one is being killed even though both dogs are making enough noise to make the whole neighborhood think that.

I tell the woman to grab Stinky for me and toss her the leash. Stinky is so happy to have some new friends that she gets a lasso around her neck without incident. Except now I’m fighting with Cooper because all the dog screaming has got him worked up. He has decided enough and he wants to play or eat all dogs in the general area!

The woman passes me the leash with the corralled Queen Nikki. I head for the street with two worked up Huskies wanting to pull my arms off. I thank her when we reach the street, and off we go for home.

All of this happened within 10 minutes of starting our walk. I only had one cup of coffee, and got thrown into this mess.

I swear it was not the best way to start the day.

But in the end, nobody was hurt, and I didn’t lose my dogs. Huskies sometimes get loose, and they are long gone. At least Cooper came back to me when I called him. That may not seem like a big deal to most of you. But for a Husky that is pretty amazing and I’m so glad he did.

Remember to expect the unexpected! For it will strike when you least expect it.

The moral of this story is: “Check your equipment every day!

Lessons from life with a husky.

TJ

Sammie…Master of Escape!

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This is a story about fence building. It was taught to me by none other than Sammie our 10-year-old girl who likes to stay on the deck in her retirement days. Now she doesn’t cause any trouble, but that’s not how it used to be.

In her prime Sammie was truly an artist at escape. Even today she will occasionally show she hasn’t lost the skills that she excelled at for all of these years. I learned how to build an almost escape proof fence due to her.

When she was a pup back in Oklahoma, she quickly let us know that a solid wood privacy fence 6 feet tall was not enough. It kept my lab/pit mix contained but it was small potatoes to a husky of her abilities. It wasn’t long before she tunneled out with digging skills that would make a back hoe jealous.

We are talking red, sun baked Oklahoma clay. It almost equals concrete if you try and dig it with anything other than powered equipment. Not much to Sammie, she dug an escape hole and was gone.

I will give her credit for sticking around. Whether it was the dogs next door or the fact you can’t really escape Oklahoma that made her stick is hard to say. But we nabbed her fairly soon and so the next thing I did was try invisible fence and shock collars.

I ran the wire around the bottom of the fence, put these expensive collars on Sammie and Two-Socks and felt I’d solved the problem with technology. I was soon proven wrong.

True, it worked for a couple of days as Sammie studied the problem of her collar giving her a buzz when she approached the fence. I guess she figured out the collars were the problem so with husky teeth she somehow sliced her collar free and then sliced off Two-Socks collar as well just for good measure.

Apparently, this extra annoyance and work I caused her made her chew the electronic boxes on the collar into so much scrap metal and plastic. That collar wouldn’t get her again!

Another quick dig and she was gone once more. And once again realizing that she was still in Oklahoma, even after such a great escape kept her easy to find. She had not solved the Oklahoma problem yet. I really couldn’t blame her because nobody actually wants to stay in Oklahoma. It’s like a black hole and even if you are born there the need to escape is strong…there has to be a better place somewhere over the rainbow!

My next effort was more power (Tim the tool man type power.) I bought real electric fence wire, and ran it around the bottom of the wood fence with insulators to keep her from digging out. Growing up in Nebraska I was familiar with electric fences but I didn’t want to hurt her. Fortunately, they make a fence charger for dogs. Not anywhere near the power a cattle fence has.

This in fact stopped her for quite a few months. But her mind never stopped working on the problem. The solution was to get Two-Socks the lab/pit mix so worked up at the neighbor dog that she ate a hole through the wood fence.

Sammie scooted through and left old Two-socks behind. Two-socks was too big to get through the hole but Sammie made it easy. Once again Oklahoma saved me. Sammie still couldn’t drive or hitch out of the state so she was captured easily. Then we moved, and the game was once more afoot!

We moved from Oklahoma to Virginia. With two cars, my job was to take all three cats with me. A painful ride of two full days with crying cats in the car. My wife would follow a few days later after the movers had packed up things. Her job was to drive out with the two dogs.

My wife stopped in Wichita Kansas to see her mom on the way. The dogs could stay in the back yard because it was privacy fenced except for the gate. A five-foot-tall chain link thing that would make a husky laugh.

I got a call from my wife in a panic. Sammie had escaped and was nowhere to be found! The problem of Oklahoma no longer in her mind, and she took off for better pastures. Now these pastures included her crossing several high-ways and busy streets. Miles away she was captured by the humane society.

My wife would not leave without finding Ms. Sammie. Luckily, she was micro-chipped and there is only one dog pound in Wichita. She was retrieved the next day, and soon back on her way to Virginia. Sammie had not liked the pound, and actually was good for the rest of the trip.

She found her new yard and home to be acceptable here. As soon as the memories of the pound wore off the old habits returned. Houdini was at it again!

Sammie could slide under the fence with ease. But she had learned the pound was not a place for her. She stuck around after a successful escape. Going up on the deck and barking at the sliding glass door. We opened it and she smiles and seems to say, “Look at me!”

When I bought a new fence for this place I spent a bundle on it. It works but I still have a small area of old fence that she quickly found was the weak spot. Many a time she would be on the deck 5 minutes after we let her outside. I’ve filled many holes with cut firewood to block the tunnels but she always dug more.

Luckily as she has aged the need to prove her skills has waned. She is happy on her deck but occasionally she will prove that she still has it.

The photo is of a gate we put up in the basement. It has an opening for the cats to pass through. Sam could easily have jumped this back in the day but now not so much. Instead she can squeeze through this tiny opening!

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t caught her half-way through the other night!

The opening is 10” tall by 7” wide. A 45-pound female husky squeezed right through it like it was a joke!

Never underestimate a husky!

TJ

Tales from the Road

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Master Yoda said, “The Prey Drive is strong in this one!” It is a famous quote from one of the Star Wars movies or maybe that is just what I heard in my head after crashing my mountain bike.

It all happened last fall, you see Cooper and I were rolling down the asphalt trail. The trees were all golden and red in their fall glory. The sun was going down, and there wasn’t anyone in sight. I was enjoying the ride behind my big boy Coop.

My bike is pretty much silent and the only noise in the air was coming from Coopers 4 feet touching the asphalt in a nice lope, along with the jingle of his dog tags hanging from his collar. I was sight-seeing and enjoying the ride.

Cooper was enjoying it as well. His ears were perked up, and his head swiveling from side to side as we rolled. He was doing what he was meant to do and he loved it! Running along seeing new things, pulling me was just a minor inconvenience to him.

We rounded the corner and started up this gradual hill. No big thing for him, and he kept running like a machine. I was looking around and day dreaming a bit. I’ve since learned that is not recommended when you are being towed by a husky.

Huskies live in the moment. They are hardwired in many ways from their DNA. One of those ways is to be an opportunistic hunter of furry things smaller than them. I’m not talking about the family cat that he has been chased away from for so long he learned to leave it alone.

I’m talking about game…furry little game that looks like a squeaky toy that needs the stuffing ripped out.

As we topped the hill I noticed the intersection was clear and let him roll on. Little did I know a few yards ahead of us was a furry little tree rat on a suicide mission.

Squirrels have a tendency to be nuts in many situations. Maybe because that is mostly what they eat? I don’t know, but this one had a plan no matter how stupid it was.

As we approached the intersection at a good clip he chose that precise moment to try and dart in front of us and cross the road! Now Cooper was on point, and doing his thing like he’d been trained. But when that furry rat ran in front of him the DNA kicked in. A meal on furry wheels had just arrived!

Realizing his bad timing the rodent did a 180 degree turn and tried to disappear into the ditch foliage. The only problem was Cooper was after that furry little snack.!

The fact that Cooper was attached to my bike didn’t seem to matter much to him. Like I said, I’m just along for the ride as far as he is concerned. I’m too slow to be of any use without wheels so I can keep up with him.

I had almost 1.5 seconds to apply both brakes. I was 1 second to slow and my bike and me where yanked off the road and into the ditch.

Luckily for me it was nice soft muddy ground and I sustained no damage. The bike and me lying on our sides was a bit too much for him to drag us into the underbrush after the squirrel.

The squirrel escaped, and then Cooper came back and looked down at me. “Why are you down there?” was what his eyes asked.

I picked myself back up and we hit the road again. I was happy to report back home in one piece.

The lesson: When you are running with dogs…don’t day dream because when you do bad things happen!

TJ

Inside the Palace (Annals of Queen Nikki)

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The witching hour is usually considered to be at “Midnight.” It was thought that at this time paranormal forces are at their peak. This is the time that witches came out to practice their evil magic.

At my house, it usually occurs between 2:30-3:30 AM. This is the time that the dark forces call to one black and white husky named, “Nikki.” This is the time when she decides I should wake up so she can go out and commune with these dark spirits that come calling.

While searching for a solution to my interrupted sleep. I began to wonder if her name might have something to do with it. I mean, I’m running out of ideas so I must examine every possibility. I looked up her name which my wife bestowed upon her. Maybe there is an answer to her personality in it?

In English, the meaning of the name Nikki is: Abbreviation of Nicholas. Mythological Nike was Greek goddess of victory and root origin of ‘Nicholas. “You are restless, sociable people-oriented, a lover of change, and a seeker of adventure and new thrills.”

My wife sure can pick them! That describes Nikki perfectly, even if she happens to be a cute little husky.

This morning at 2:00 AM the “Nickster” woke me up in the usual way. A jab with both front paws to the chest followed by a lick, and wide gleaming eyes full of unknown husky mischief. She was letting me know that forces beyond my understanding were calling to the Queen of the Night.

I stumbled around to the sliding glass door, and before setting her free told her, “Don’t take all night! Do your thing and get back here…I want to sleep!”

She wags that fuzzy tail, and dances around like she can actually hear me. I slide the door open and “Whoosh!” the black and white bullet is gone as soon as she can fit though the gap. I wait a few minutes and no Nikki. So, I call her and threaten her with a few choice words. No response…

I look over at Cooper who is content to have stolen her little dog bed while she is outside. Never mind the fact that he barely fits in it. The fact that he now lies in the Queens bed is more than enough to make him hold back any thoughts of going out to pee.

“You’re a lot of help!” I tell him and open the door.

Every night about this same time I wonder if the neighbors can hear me yelling, “Don’t make me get my shoes on, and come after you!”

I wait a few more minutes, and the threat goes unanswered. I grumble at Cooper as I put my tennis shoes on, “Got damn dog!”

He smiles at me and Waller’s in the little bed with no concern about any injustice I have to endure.

Cooper then settles on his back with all 4 legs in the air and finally looks at me as I retrieve the flashlight and head for the door. The look on his face says, “She’s the Queen, what did you expect?”

Now I’m armed with a tactical flashlight, shorts, T-Shirt, and tennis shoes. I head out in the dark to find out where the hell she went, and why she hasn’t come back yet.

The Tac-light has a beam powerful enough to look like a search light when you point it up in the sky. Once again, I wonder if the neighbors are laughing, and looking out their bedroom window as I search the grounds for “Stinky!”

You see, the husky Queens nick name changes depending on any given scenario she puts me in. At the current time, she was at the “Stinky” level of my patience. Queen or not she was being “Stinky!”

I scan the front quarter acre, with no dog in sight? I know she is out there, but I can’t see her and have to call her again as I sweep the laser like beam of light around.

Just when I think she has escaped, out of the bushes comes a black and white form. Slinking, and then running to escape the beam of light like a prisoner running to escape the flood lights from the guard towers!

She may be fast, but light is faster!

She circles wide… but realizes she’s been made, and there is no escape from the light or me. She then trots to the back door, and waits impatiently for me like I’ve been wasting the Queens time!

I trudge back in the middle of the night, not taking the light off of her. I was not about to let her fade into the dark once more. She wags her tail…” Right!” I tell her and open the door.

Quick as a wink she darts inside and spots Cooper in her bed. No problem… she jumps up on mine, does three quick circles and flops down like nothing happened. Apparently, her buried bones and other treasures on the royal grounds are all safe and accounted for.

I grumble, but am tired enough to just forget it. I want to get some sleep before the alarm goes off in 90 more minutes.

Once again, the Queen has won the game. I’ll solve this problem one of these days if I’m lucky.

If not, there will always be plenty of campfire stories about Queen Nikki!

Her loyal servant,

TJ

 

Eye of the Hurricane

This is another long post but it’s done out of the love for the breed. I hope I can help someone who is feeling frustrated and torn between the love of their dog and the problems they face. I don’t have all the answers, but you can read what I think and make your own decisions.

The eye of a hurricane is relatively calm circular space surrounded by destruction on all sides. As the hurricane approaches you feel the wind, rain, and things get destroyed. This is followed by the calm eye but wait, it’s not over yet. The back wall is on its way to cause more chaos and destruction.

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This can be the recurring cycle for some Husky owners. While you are gone, the hurricane hits destroying almost anything with tooth and claw. When you get home all seems well as your husky sits calmly amid the destruction.

You clean up the mess and the evening is fine, you are in the eye of the hurricane. But the storm will continue the next day as the back wall approaches and you are at work. The cycle continues, storm after storm with no end in sight.

This behavior unfortunately affects all husky owners to some degree at some point. It’s most unfortunate for those who have no clue about a husky when they first get one. That is why almost every article warns about the husky needing a special type of person to deal with them.

Huskies are one of the most beautiful creatures God ever created, but they are like a sports car. You might purchase a beautiful car only to find out it won’t start most of the time, and the wheels fall off on occasion if you don’t perform certain maintenance and understand the needs of that car.

The same thing applies to the husky. They are high maintenance, and require you to read and understand the manual if there was one. There is no manual per say, each dog is to some degree different but a few things remain constant.

Huskies are not born destructive any more than a baby is born evil or good. Sure huskies chew more than other breeds and use their mouths as we would our hands. But they cannot speak English to tell us what is bothering them anymore than an infant can.

The frustration comes from trying to figure out what it is that makes them behave the way they do. The easy way out comes in two parts. The first is to get rid of the problem, as so many do and this causes many huskies to end up in rescue or dead.

The second is to accept the behavior and just turn a blind eye as your home slowly is brought to the ground by tooth and claw. As silly as this sounds it’s not so rare. If you love your child to death, you will put up with some bad behaviors as well. It’s no different being the parent of a husky.

So what do I do?

The first thing you need to do, is try and discover why your husky is being destructive. As most owners will tell you exercise is the answer to most problems. You will get sick of hearing that, but it’s true. A husky is like a tightly coiled spring about to explode. Their energy is almost impossible to comprehend.

  1. Huskies were bred to be an animal with the ability to run and pull in upwards of a hundred miles a day, through the most inhospitable lands on the planet. There unique physiology allows them to burn fat instead of sugar when taxed. They do not get sore from lactic acid like humans or other dogs. They can sleep a few hours and then get up and do it again…and again.

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Your walk around the block does not compare to that. The first thing you need to do is figure out if the amount of exercise you give your husky is sufficient to tire them out. All dogs were not created equal so what works for one may not be enough for the other. A tired Husky will have his tail down, his tongue a mile long, and be slavering all over. When you get home he will drink water and take a nap almost immediately.

  1. Confinement is something all huskies must face to varying degrees. But I can guarantee you they do not like it one bit. Toys to play with only go so far as they get bored easily. It’s much more fun to eat the wall. Sheetrock does not stand a chance to tooth and claw.

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As may people live in apartments space is at a premium. A crate provides protection for your belongings, but at the cost of your dog’s happiness. That is why they howl, or destroy the nice bed you gave them. They need more room if possible, and maybe with a baby gate and a closet you can give it to them.

Whatever you do, be sure to let them have as much free run, and quality time as you can to make up for that incarceration you imposed on them. I’ve talked about quality time before and it means more than a pat on the head while you watch T.V. Your husky wants and needs to be part of your pack (Family), make sure you give them some quality time.

  1. Loneliness will make a Husky slowly go insane. In fact, it is the most severe punishment you can use on a Husky. A time out in a closet for no more than 30 seconds for bad behavior is like getting a slap across the face.

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The pack mentality of the husky was developed over thousands of years and is much more pronounced than other K-9’s. Huskies lived, slept, and worked with man as a complete family unit. They even slept on the kids at night to keep them warm. To isolate them goes against everything in their DNA.

Maybe your husky is lonely if you only have one. A possible solution is to have a companion for them, another dog. It doesn’t have to be a husky as they really don’t mind. Maybe they can stay with someone else while you work, or maybe someone can come and see them during the day. You can find some kind of solution if you work it out.

I think those are the three most common reasons a husky will eat your house.

You need to think and find what they are missing and the destruction should stop. They only do this because it is the only way to show you they are frustrated. It’s up to you to understand the husky, the husky can’t do it for you.

I hope this helps at least one husky from being abandoned or sent to the pound.

TJ

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